Over the many years since Leaders in Heels began, we have worked with hundreds of contributors, watched our six-figure community prosper and collaborated with so many talented experts. These experiences have taught us many things, including how different people hone their productivity. We’ve pooled some of this knowledge, including some hidden gems from super busy women, to create this guide for improving productivity.
Manage your communications and emails
Take digital mail old school and develop a filing system for your emails so that your inbox doesn’t regularly sit with an overwhelming amount of notifications. Move emails into folders titled ‘action’, ‘read’ and ‘wait’. These will help you get clarity on their importance and where you should be spending your time.
If you regularly receive the same types of emails (for example work enquiries), create a document of templated responses that you can call on in a time crunch.
Eliminate mindless phone time by setting app limits
iPhone users can set alerts to reduce their time on specified apps. For example, if you feel you’re spending too long on social media you can choose to limit your time on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to however long you like. When you’re within 5 minutes of that time, you’ll get a reminder and when you reach the limit the apps will grey out on your phone. You can elect to extend the time but it does make you more aware of how quickly you chew through your allowance by mindlessly scrolling (or playing games!).
This can be done on iPhones by going to Settings / Screen time / App limits.
You can also schedule downtime in this area, which is time you want to spend away from your phone.
Formulate your to-dos
Whether you like to do this by hand with one of our to-do lists or track them online, to-do lists are a lifesaver. Let’s be clear, these aren’t long term plans, they are your daily reminders, that you can number in the order you’re going to complete the tasks. Websites like Trello and Asana are effective in creating different types of lists and delegating tasks to others.
Remember, give your daily goals a deadline!
Plan ahead when improving productivity
Not just how you’ll spend your time, but eliminate all unnecessary ‘decision making’ time. For example, on Sundays check the weather for the week ahead and plan each outfit you’ll wear for the next seven days, what you’ll eat for breakfast and lunch, and any other routine tasks. This means you can wake up each day and focus on your goals instead of deliberating over something mundane.
Schedule your time
Be your own assistant when considering how you’re improving productivity and schedule in the time you’re going to work on a project. For example, ‘Project A’ from 9-11am, ‘Project B’ from 11-11:45am and ‘Project C’ from 12:30-3:30pm. You’ll probably notice that tasks don’t always take as long as you think they will. Monitoring this more regularly will give you a better grasp on where you’re spending your time and allow you to prioritise better.
TIP: Sites like Clockify offer free task tracking capabilities which gives you a much more accurate snapshot on where you spend your time.
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